Today’s online travel industry generates tremendous excitement whenever it offers discounts or cheap travel products on websites or reward redemption platforms.
To learn more about consumer’s spending and travel habits, DBS Hong Kong commissioned ESDlife to conduct an online survey from December 2015 to January 2016. A total of 611 respondents aged between 25 and 50 participated in the survey and the results were announced today (25 February).
The survey findings show that many Hong Kong people love to travel, with the majority of respondents saying that they travel overseas three times a year and spend a total of HK$28,721 per person each year. Some 75% of respondents purchased travel products via online travel agencies or airline websites. This shows that the internet was a key to transforming the travel industry and the growing popularity of online travel rewards platforms.
Existing travel redemption platforms may not fulfil user’s needs 45% of the respondents said they had used credit card points to redeem mileage and travel products. (Figure 1) Respondents said existing platforms are lacking in a number of areas: availability of budget airline products (87%), flexibility to combine airline tickets and hotel accommodation (79%), a one-stop platform to eliminate the need to log on to multiple websites (70%), the option to top up with cash to reach the required number of points (66%), and instant redemption of mileage using credit card points (59%) (Figure 2). These findings show that the ideal redemption platform should be simple to use, flexible, provide instant redemption, and offer a wide range of travel products. The findings also show that more than half of the respondents (55%) have flown with budget airlines in the past 24 months and 57% of respondents would like to redeem budget airline products at travel rewards platform.
Some respondents resort to extreme measures to redeem travel products or mileage The survey found that 77% of respondents went out of their way to redeem travel rewards using their credit card points. For instance, 33% of respondents said they applied for more than one credit card, and, in some cases, as many as 10 credit cards, in an attempt to earn more points for the redemption of travel rewards. Some 27% of respondents said they redeemed mileage up to a year in advance, while others constantly monitored mileage information to ensure they get the best rewards (27%). More importantly, 18% of respondents said they spent too much or even bought unnecessary items to earn more credit card points (Figure 3).
Local travel expert Lovelovelings commented that the survey results can be attributed to the model of the existing redemption procedures “To fight for the few flight tickets available on a platform, consumers must earn as much mileage as they can within a short period of time. This forces many consumers to monitor every discount offered by each credit card.” She added that an ideal platform shall include more choices including the popular budget airlines for redemption. She would love to redeem rewards instantly through a mobile device, too.
Matthew Driver, group executive, Global Products and Solutions (GP&S), Asia Pacific, for MasterCard, also attended today’s press conference, where he shared key insights on Hong Kong consumers’ attitudes towards international leisure travel. These insights were drawn from the findings of MasterCard’s Consumer Purchasing Priorities survey. Results indicated that 86 percent of Hong Kong consumers plan to travel in the next 12 months, with 30 percent of these people intending to travel more this year than last. Research also revealed that Japan (17%), Australia (7%) and London (5%) are Hong Kong consumers’ top three dream travel destinations in the world.
iGO Rewards redefining travel rewards DBS Hong Kong today launched iGO Rewards, a new innovative one-stop travel rewards platform that is simple to use, flexible and convenient. iGO Rewards was developed with today’s savvy customers and travellers in mind and took into consideration their evolving behaviours and preferences. With iGO Rewards, users can easily redeem DBS$ for free flights and hotel accommodation as well as create their own travel packages directly on the platform, and there are no blackout dates. iGO Rewards covers all major airlines and over 100,000 hotels globally. As a revolutionary new travel rewards platform, iGO Rewards provides instant e-mail confirmations for bookings, eliminates the hassle of having to log on to multiple websites, and allows users to redeem by topping up their DBS$ with cash if they do not have enough DBS$! During the initial launch period, iGO Rewards can be enjoyed exclusively by DBS MasterCard cardholders. DBS Black World MasterCard cardholders using DBS$ to redeem travel products can also enjoy an exclusive 45% discount on iGO Rewards.
DBS has been investing considerable resources to drive innovation in digital banking, and iGO Rewards is the latest innovation enabling a joyful, simple and convenient customer experience. “Following the launch of our DBS Omni Credit Card Companion Mobile App, iGO Rewards is yet another innovation that continues to put customers first. It allows users to combine DBS$ and cash to instantly redeem airline tickets and hotel accommodation. It is innovative, flexible and tailored to the needs of Hong Kong’s smart travellers,” Ken Chew, Executive Director, Head of Consumer Finance and eBusiness, at DBS Bank (Hong Kong) Limited, said. “We believe iGO Rewards will also be attractive to travellers who are not yet fans of air miles, by offering a compelling new reason to apply for DBS credit cards.” iGO Rewards is available on smartphones, computers and tablets.